Every weekend of football between now and the end of the season is going to be a “big weekend” such is the current tightness at the top of the Premier League.
Liverpool and Manchester City chasing for the title aside, there is a battle for top 4 which is red hot.
A few weeks ago it was 3 teams fighting for 2 places. At one point Arsenal moved from 5th to 4th, back to 5th, and then into 6th, without even playing a game.
The wheels falling off Tottenham has since dragged them into a 4 horse race for the 2 remaining places in the top 4 alongside Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
4 points separate Tottenham in 3rd and Chelsea in 6th.
One win would be enough for a side to make a team consider themselves favourites for the top 4, one defeat and they would feel out of it.
We saw this last week when Chelsea went to Everton, playing what was effectively their game in hand on the 3 teams above them.
A win would have put them into 5th place, level on points with Arsenal and just a single point behind Tottenham. They lost 2-0 and now sit 3 points and a goal difference of 7 worse off behind Arsenal in 4th.
it is so close that goal difference could be the deciding factor.
As it stands Tottenham have the greatest goal difference with 25. Arsenal are 1 behind on 24 (ironic considering they are also 1 point behind). Manchester United with 18 and Chelsea 17. This effectively gives Arsenal and Tottenham one more point than their rivals – although with 8 games still to go things can change very quickly.
So this weekend is a huge one for all involved, and especially for Arsenal.
Arsenal play Monday night, by which time Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham would have played.
Whilst Chelsea (Cardiff Away) and Manchester United (Watford Home) have relatively easy fixtures that they should win, Tottenham travel to Liverpool where they will look to halt a 4 game winless run. chances are they will lose.
This will leave Arsenal facing Newcastle at home on Monday night and a chance to go 3rd.
Home games are going to be important, and Arsenal have just 3 left starting with Newcastle on Monday. To stand a chance finishing top 4, Arsenal need to win 3 from 3.
After Newcastle, 5 of the remaining 7 games are away, Arsenal visiting Leicester City, Wolves, Everton, Watford and Burnley. These are not easy fixtures and Arsenal will do well to get 2 wins from the 5 games.
75 points should be enough to secure Arsenal a top 4 place.
If Arsenal win all 3 home games and twice on the road, they will reach that 75 point tally.
If results go as expected this weekend, there will be 3 points between 3rd and 6th.
After Newcastle, Arsenal will have to sit and watch as Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham play mid week.
They could quite realistically find themselves in 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th over the course of the mid-week games.
This weekend is just another big weekend in a long wrong of big weekend.
Just 8 to go, sit tight and try and enjoy the ride…